12 Feb 2014

Privacy a pressing issue - Shroff

11:09 am on 12 February 2014

Privacy breaches have become a pressing political issue according to Privacy Commissioner Marie Shroff, who is stepping down at the end of the week after 10 years in the job.

Privacy Commissioner Marie Shroff.

Privacy Commissioner Marie Shroff. Photo: SUPPLIED

Over that period, breaches of privacy have become a pressing political issue, including the release of private information by the Government and revelations about the growing amount of information obtained by companies such as Google.

The internet and the enormous amount of private information it carried had also ensured the ongoing relevance of her office, Ms Shroff said.

"Look at our internet use. It has sprung up from 37 percent in 2001 to nearly 90 percent currently, so obviously people are putting information out there on the internet, and I'm sure that's one of the things that's driven it."

Ms Shroff said she was surprised and dismayed at the information people were prepared to share online, and that government organisations, business and civil society groups had been slow to develop a culture of stewardship of online information.